Article by Rev Mary Foley in the National Catholic Reporter

Posted in change, ethics, forgiveness, Original Sin by revmtheogene on February 14, 2021



February 9, 2021  by Rev. Dr. Mary Foley


Tear gas is released into a crowd of demonstrators protesting the 2020 election results at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 in Washington. (CNS/Shannon Stapleton, Reuters)

I was deeply affected by our democracy coming under attack one month ago, with the storming of the Capitol by people wielding flags that proclaimed Trump, civil war and Jesus. I was traumatized by hearing people gleeful about the destruction, who were happy that members of Congress were terrorized. Listening to some people in those moments, I felt like I was face to face with evil.

Then, I realized, I have met them before.

I grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, one of eight children of white parents were who involved in the civil rights movement. My parents moved from the South Side of Chicago to this suburb because it was nationally known for its integration policies. However, the Catholic school we attended was not integrated. When riots burned through Chicago after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, my family took in a Black single Mom and her kids who lost their home, until they could get back on their feet again. When my parents enrolled the kids in our school, parishioners boycotted the church collection and sent threatening messages to my mother. The pastor asked my father to take the kids out of the school. I have met them before.

When a series of circumstances put me back on the Southwest Side of Chicago as a young adult, I was horrified to see the American Nazi Party headquarters across the street from our Catholic parish. When I walked a baby stroller through Marquette Park, I tore down signs on lamp posts and light poles that said, “N—– Keep Out,” and “No Afros Allowed.” I learned that it had not been long since the Ku Klux Klan marched through the park. I heard the priest at our parish supporting those who wanted to keep the Western Avenue color line from being crossed. I have met them before.

When living in the Marquette Park neighborhood and my children were small, I was mugged returning from the grocery store one night. The mugger tried to pull me down my front stairs as I was carrying groceries into my house. No one heard my yelling and it was not until the groceries fell and glass broke that the mugger yanked my purse from my arm and took off. Being locked in a bear hug by a mugger was very scary and I called the police. When the officer who came to take the report found out that the mugger was Black, the street was suddenly filled with police cars and the officer asked me, “When we catch him, do you want us to string him up in the tree in front of your house?” The mugger scared me. The police officer terrified me. I have met them before.

When I worked as a young mother to try and change things in my neighborhood and in the church, I did a lot of research about the local area. I read books that recorded stories of Catholics demonstrating against Dr. King when he marched and was attacked in the park. I found a document written by church leaders of different denominations in the Marquette Park neighborhood who were trying to keep the area white. The list of names in this document included the name of the priest who would baptize me as an infant some years later. The people I have met before have been here long before me.

During recent weeks, there has been action taken to hold President Donald Trump accountable, and calls to also hold accountable other politicians who participated in inflaming the people I have met before. Those in law enforcement who proclaim the need for law and order for some people but not for others, and those in Catholic and evangelical churches who proclaim respect for life but only for the unborn, should also be held accountable. All of us need to take stock of how we participated in what happened at the Capitol, through our action or inaction. Otherwise, we are like the people I have met before.

The Rev. Dr. Mary M. Foley is a board certified chaplain, ACPE certified educator, and Roman Catholic Woman Priest who is currently serving the Catholic Apostolic Church in North America, or CACINA.


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Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Readings: Genesis Chapter 3 verses 9-15, 20 / Psalm 98 verses 1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4 / Ephesians Chapter 1 verses 3-6, 11-12 / Luke Chapter 1 verses 26-38.

Oh, Mary who conceived without sin! Pray for us that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ. What joy we have in knowing that Mary’s yes would have changed the world. God gives us all many chances and opportunities to be able to reveal God’s abundant love and forgiveness to those in our lives. Perhaps many women were asked and were afraid to say yes. God already knew who would say yes. God knew from the beginning that this Mary of Nazareth would be the Christ bearer, the ‘Theotokos’ as our Orthodox sisters and brothers refer to our blessed mother.  Mary because of her bringing to life the herald of God from womb to birth, walking with Jesus through his life, death, and resurrection, her body, living as a living tabernacle, helped in God’s plan to bring God’s love to our world. In this celebration, we refer to Mary as one who was born and conceived without sin.

We too hold God in our hearts. We too who have been born free from sin and cannot allow ourselves to be bogged down from the sins, the short comings of our families, thinking that they will stifle us from being who God has truly called us to be. That is just us putting up excuses and barriers in our way. Letting others get in our heads.

Friends, if we truly believe that the God of creation forgives sins and if we are truly sorry for our sins, when  we have failed to love, let us resolve ourselves to know that what we give birth to has merit. Has integrity. Has love. If we truly mean it. This day is special (December 8th), to me because I said yes to a local municipality government service job and retired twenty years later the same day. I was truly blessed and protected. I am truly grateful for this employment. I hope I gave birth to it in the way God intended. Blessings!

+ Michael


Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

Readings: Isaiah Chapter 11 verses 1-10 / Psalm 72 verses 1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17 / Luke Chapter 10 verses 21-24

Sisters and Brothers I think we need to remember that when we approach God that it may be a good idea that we have to become childlike leaving ourselves open, vulnerable to allow God’s Spirit to enter so we may be able to at least begin to hear God speaking to us. We need not waste so much time trying to approach God with our adult selves with our preconceived notions. When we do that, we stifle our own selves as we hang on to our own agendas.  Preventing the Spirit to be able to work through us.

I think if we can tap into our inner child and approach God with childlike qualities holding on to that inner child, we can embrace God with simplicity, faith, and the opportunity to open our true selves to receive God’s blessing wanting to receive God and to know more of God. If we believe in the example of Jesus, God’s servant, and if we believe in how Jesus came to God and the way Jesus did it, then we will believe in Jesus and in the One who sent him. We too can and will know that this is far beyond us. A child has no care than other to be loved. We want to learn and come to that which will complete us. In the same manner we approach a parent(s) or someone we admire. We will live learning more about the world and in the process learn more about ourselves as we come to God with open arms.

rev. Michael

Feast of the Holy Family


Fr. Peter Sanchez- Fourth Sunday of Advent- Parish of Saints Francis and Clare- Wilton Manors, Florida



Inclusive Lectionary reading: 1 Samuel Chapter 1 verses 24-28 / 1 Samuel Chapter 2 verses 1, 4-7, 8ABCD /  Luke Chapter 1 verses 46-56.


Today’s readings have revealed to me that I cannot take those entrusted to me as my property.  Each person in my life, my spouse, my children, my family members, friends, church family, every person I am responsible for in some way are gifts from God.  It is my job to lead them to the realization of how much God loves them.   Be blessed!

(rev.) Michael Theogene




Inclusive Lectionary reading: Song of Songs Chapter 2 verses 8-14 / Psalm 33 verses 2-3, 11-12, 20-21 /  Luke Chapter 1 verses 39-45.

How much do we love God? Why do we sometimes find it easier to love others around us, who are in the flesh instead of loving someone who is not present to us in physical form? I am reminded of two former co-workers who were from Yemen and were practicing Muslims. They both were introduced to their respective spouses at about age 5 or 6 years old. They both never saw their spouse again until they walked down the aisle to profess their wedding vows. My co-workers were in an arranged marriage, orchestrated by their parents at early ages. Fast forward to the present, they both continue to speak of how in love they are with their spouses. Yes, they may have been a physical beauty, but both continue in their marriages of many years with grown children. What were their thoughts of their supposed beloved who they would not have seen for close to twenty (20) years? What might have they been thinking for so many years, who they knew who they were going to marry, by name perhaps, but no contact? Any courtships, were photos shown how their future wives would look like?

Friends, I am not advocating for or against arranged marriages, but the ability that we have to love, fall in love and keep falling in love with a Creator God who first loved us even before we were formed in the womb. Well maybe God is allowed to cheat since God had a first glance before our physical existence. The same way parents fall in love with a child before physical birth or the arrival of a child that is being adopted, the parents are slowly, steadily falling in love.

Let’s us not only fall in love with who we see but fall in love with those who are not in front of us. Loving the beauty of their souls not their physical looks. Seeing God within them and cherishing the gift they are in our lives.

+Michael Theogene




Inclusive Lectionary reading: Isaiah Chapter 7 verses 10-14 / Psalm 24 verses 1-2, 3-4AB, 5-6 /  Luke Chapter 1 verses 26-38.

Friends, what are the blessings have we had among ourselves? What specifically can you recall, the choicest blessing that was bestowed upon you or someone you know?  Were you able to recognize it as a blessing?

When events such as these have taken place in our lives, what was our reaction? Did we tell anyone else about it? Did we display an attitude of gratitude?

We prayer thanking God for the many wonderful blessings for those things seen and not seen. Amen.

(rev.) Michael Theogene



Inclusive Lectionary reading: Judges Chapter 13 verses 2-7, 24-25A / Psalm 71 verses 3-4A, 5-6AB, 16-17 /  Luke Chapter 1 verses 5-25.

Silence! Friends, what a great gift silence can be. I am always admired by the Benedictine Monks of Weston Priory who seem to always enter into silence when it comes to times of prayer, work, conversation and when making big decisions that effect the community.

Sometimes I feel, for myself, when I don’t take the time to pause prior to speaking or praying and rush into hasty choices, not giving the due time needed to do so, it becomes a recipe for disaster, like Zechariah who was silenced.  I know that there are times when we need to make quick decisions on a spur of the moment, but when we have that opportunity to truly did deep and allow God to work through us, it is then we can hear God speaking to us.   

Sisters and brothers, we may not necessarily have the freedom as those in religious life, living in community who may have the ability to wait several months or a year to decide, or listening to someone in need and knowing that the best thing to do at times is not speak, giving advice, but to simply listen. Just listen! As the saying goes, ‘Silence is golden!’ Be blessed!

+Michael Theogene



Inclusive Lectionary reading: Jeremiah Chapter 23 verses 5-8 / Psalm 72 verses 1-2, 12-13, 18-19 /  Matthew Chapter 1 verses 18-25.

Friends, in my immediate family, a family member and his wife had just recently given birth to a baby girl. The baby was named after his mother-in-law who is at present seriously ill. I think back to looking at the meaning of our names. The names we are given do not necessarily define who we are, but in some way shows the character of what our family would like to attribute to the child’s upbringing. They can be religious connotations or secular. We also take into consideration not only attributes in the meaning of our names (first name) but also our last names which would have our cultural heritage which may denote where or what family tribe we have stemmed from. For instance, I am stemming from a Caribbean Haitian background, with my name, ‘Theogene’, meaning ‘tribe or family of God’.  Haiti in its history was visited by Greek sailors, hence the many Greek sounding names among Haitians, even with the French, African, & Spanish influences.

Sisters and brothers, Jesus healed people in many ways but also in the way of simple acknowledging them as a person, as a human being. This was not done to control as Jesus did when dealing with healing those who were probable possessed but the beauty and sanctity of showing people that, yes, you too are a child of God. A person on a journey, like everyone else who is called as priest, prophet, and royal child.  No different, and no less. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

What is in your name?

What have you been called to?

What do you believe that you are birthed to do?

Have you been consistent with what you feel you were called to?

Have you completed it, or do you still have more to do?

Have you been called to do more, elsewhere?

Be blessed!

(rev.) Michael Theogene




Inclusive Lectionary reading: Sirach Chapter 48 verses 1-4, 9-11 / Psalm 80 verses 2AC & 3B /  Matthew Chapter 17 verses 9A, 10-13.

Are we prophets in our time? Has any of us felt that the things we say have fallen on deaf ears? When is our time, are we listening?  Do we need to be continually challenging ourselves and others? Do we come to restore all things or are we those who cause a hindrance to the community? How does our presence bring the peace of Christ in our midst? A lot to ponder during this time of waiting.  Be blessed.

(rev.) Michael Theogene



Inclusive Lectionary reading: Isaiah Chapter 48 verses 17-19 / Psalm 1 verses 1-4, & 6  Matthew Chapter 11 verses 16-19.

Friends, we are never really satisfied, are we? It is so much easier for us to point fingers towards others. We blame others for our problems, never really addressing our concerns to ourselves. It’s always everybody’s else’s fault, but mine! Does this sound familiar? It sure does to me. When we point a finger at someone, there are three others pointing back at us. How by our example will we simply show who we are? It is not for the purposes of trying to prove to people who we are, if so then we missed the point. It is by our example by being living witnesses of Gods word, and by this then we are made blameless in the sight of God. Be blessed.

+ Michael Theogene



Inclusive Lectionary reading: Isaiah Chapter 41 verses 13-20 / Psalm 145 verses 1 & 9 -13AB  Matthew Chapter 11 verses 11-15.

Sisters and brothers, during this meditation, I wish to briefly tell you of a friend of mine who is suffering from the usual vision loss that most older adults are beginning to have.  Glaucoma, cornea repair, night blindness, macular degeneration and among many others.  This is not necessarily pertaining to my friend but shows what we all possibly may suffer from as we get older. Does this sound familiar? On this day is the memorial of Saint Lucy, virgin & martyr is celebrated is the reason why I bring this friend of mine up. St. Lucy’s cause, if you will, was for improved eye sight, better vision. Physical vision! My friend just received surgery in one eye and will receive surgery in the other in the next few days as the first eye heals. I myself, never having any eye conditions as such, I can only imagine the fear of only being able to use one eye as he has found challenging. Balance issues and all of the sought. The same with those among us who at birth or at a later time who have lost their ability to fully see, physically.

 However, as it has been said, as you lose the ability of one of the senses, your other ones become heightened. So, if we had lost the ability to see, would our hearing take over to a certain extent?  

Who is the person or persons that we have seen or heard about in our lives that have lost the ability to function in an area of their lives, and have responded be something greater than they already are? To be not only great, but spectacular? As Jesus was possibly a disciple of John worshiping in the same community, who’s name do we call out? To be a prophetic voice may not be for everyone, but we all have a voice to a certain extent. Also, without passing the buck, who calls out our name?  Will our voice be heard and remembered as we challenge others and ourselves? Who sees and hears us? Who really sees and hears the  message of God we are proclaiming through whatever it is we learned to compensate for in our lives.

(rev.) Michael Theogene

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe- Fr. Vincent Treglio of Sts. Francis and Clare